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New NMSU education faculty member receives award for dissertation

Cecilia Hernandez, a new assistant professor of curriculum and instruction in the New Mexico State University College of Education, will receive the Distinguished Dissertation Award at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Association of Teacher Educators this spring.


Head shot of Cecilia Hernandez, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction in the New Mexico State University College of Education.
Cecilia Hernandez, a new assistant professor of curriculum and instruction in the New Mexico State University College of Education, will receive the Distinguished Dissertation Award at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Association of Teacher Educators this spring. (NMSU Photo by Darren Phillips)

The Association of Teacher Educators is the only national, individual membership organization devoted solely to the improvement of teacher education for both school and campus-based teacher educators. ATE members represent more than 650 colleges and universities, 500 major school systems and the majority of the state departments of education. The Distinguished Dissertation Award encourages, recognizes and promotes exemplary doctoral-level research that substantially contributes to the improvement of teacher education.

Hernandez finished her doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis on science education in May 2011 at Kansas State University. Her dissertation, "The Extent to which Latina/o Pre-service Teachers Demonstrate Culturally Responsive Teaching Practices during Science and Mathematics Instruction," focused on 12 non-traditional, linguistically diverse teachers in rural areas and how they negotiated culturally responsive teaching practices in science classrooms during their student-teaching experience.

For the dissertation, Hernandez developed her own framework to analyze data, and would like to look at how it can be applied in other places for teachers to use.

Hernandez, who joined NMSU this semester, is teaching elementary and secondary science methods courses and trying to infuse multiculturalism into those courses.

"I want my students to know how important science education is at all levels," she said.

While pursuing her doctorate, Hernandez worked in the Kansas State University Office of Diversity. She has a bachelor's and master's from Texas Tech University in biology.